Tag Archives: Darragh Kenny

Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL Win McDaniel & Assoc. Cup at Spruce Meadows

Darragh Kenny of IRL riding Alpha VDL. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Spooner Makes It Three in a Row

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 28, 2014 – The ‘Canada One’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows continued on Saturday featuring the $33,500 McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.55m with a win for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL. The small margin of six one-thousandths of a second separated Kenny from second place finisher Kirsten Coe (USA) aboard Czardas 30.

The $8,000 Francis Family Cup 1.45m was also held in the Chinook Ring in the morning with another win for USA’s Richard Spooner, giving the rider three major wins with three different horses this week. The ‘Canada One’ Tournament concludes on Sunday, June 29, with the $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m.

Cristina Larangeiro of Portugal was the course designer for the McDaniel & Associates Cup, which saw 17 first round entries, and seven advancing to the jump-off in the Meadows on the Green. Darragh Kenny and Eva Castegren’s Alpha VDL jumped the first clear round over the short course in 39.661 seconds for the win. Last to go, Kirsten Coe and Ilan Ferder’s Czardas 30 came incredibly close to taking over the lead, but finished just shy in 39.667 seconds. Ben Asselin (CAN) and Linda Southern-Heathcott’s Doremi completed the only other double clear round in 46.29 seconds to finish third.

Alpha VDL, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Corland x Emilion, has had great success with Kenny in the irons this year and continued his progression by jumping to victory over his first 1.55m track on Saturday. Kenny knew that his horse had the foot speed to win and went for a fast, clear round after the first three riders had rails.

“He is naturally a quick enough horse, and he has won some good classes already,” Kenny noted. “I knew there were places I could be quick. I left out a stride in one line. I did six where most people did seven. I wanted to just have a good round and see where I ended up with that.”

Commenting on Alpha VDL’s rise to the top, Kenny smiled, “His progression has been incredible. The horse has gone from jumping 1.40m classes at the start of Florida to winning grand prixs. He won a grand prix in Ocala, he won a grand prix in Saugerties, and now he won this 1.55m here. This is the biggest class he has ever had to jump, and he coped extremely well. It was great. His owner is here this week, so she got to see him, and it all worked out pretty well.”

Kenny explained that the course was good for Alpha VDL’s first track at that level, noting, “Although it was big, it was a little bit spread out. That was good for him because it gave him time between the jumps. He is a very good horse. He is only nine years old, and he has just been getting better and better. Every time we step him up he just seems to do really well.”

“He is quite conventional to ride,” Kenny added. “He is very careful, and he has a good style. Whatever way I ride him, he seems to like it, so it works good for both of us. He tries really hard to leave the jumps up and that is very important in this sport.”

Second place finisher Czardas 30 is also stepping up his game this summer, and rider Kirsten Coe was very happy with his finish.

“It felt really good,” Coe stated. “That horse has really been knocking on the door. He has been coming along really nicely and jumping a lot of clear rounds. He felt very confident tonight, and I took a chance. He has been progressively moving through the divisions since we have been here. We are just building him up, but we really think a lot of him.”

Coe took over the reins on Czardas 30 this winter after the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Contendro x Grannus) showed briefly with McLain Ward. She explained that it has been a great match ever since, and her mount really stepped up in Saturday’s final round.

“The jump-off was quite fast. There was plenty of room to gallop,” Coe noted. “I didn’t see Darragh go, but obviously it was very close. It was nice to have a top finish.”

Spooner Scores a Hat Trick

Competition kicked off in the Chinook Ring Friday morning with the $8,000 Francis Family Cup 1.45m where Richard Spooner (USA) got his third win in a row this week. Held in a faults converted format, the competition saw 30 entries jumping a course set by Manuel Esparza of Mexico. About halfway through the order, Spooner and Tuxedo cleared the course in a time of 66.44 seconds that would hold on for the win. The 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gentleman x Hamilcar) is another brand new mount for Spooner riding for Legacy Stables LLC.

Darragh Kenny (IRL) guided Hyperion Stud LLC’s Chin Quidam VDL to second place honors in a time of 68.71 seconds. Frances Land (USA) and Vieanne placed third in 69.04 seconds. Kenny also took the fourth place prize in 69.48 seconds with Oakland Ventures LLC’s Fantasy.

Richard Spooner of USA riding Tuxedo
Richard Spooner of USA riding Tuxedo

“I don’t know what I ate, I don’t know what I ran into, but something happened right and I just have to try to figure out what it was,” Spooner smiled, commenting on his three-day sweep. He also won Thursday’s $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m with Cristallo and topped Friday’s $33,500 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m aboard Uraguay. Although winning with veteran mount Cristallo is nothing new for the rider, Legacy Stables’ Uraguay and Tuxedo are both brand new horses that he has quickly figured out.

“Tuxedo is a wonderful horse,” Spooner stated after his win. “He is a top, top speed horse. I just got the ride of course, so we are still going through a little bit of growing pains, but today we felt great.”

“I am just learning the things he likes and the things he doesn’t like. He lets me know, which is nice of him,” Spooner said. “I think once I figure out the things that he is fond of we should hopefully have some success because he is unbelievably fast and careful and powerful. He actually really gets into it. He is a fascinating horse because you can feel him almost take over and he gets it. He gets that the goal is not to knock anything down and go as fast as you can, and if you get a horse that gets it like that, then they will be getting a lot of top ribbons.”

Detailing his round with Tuxedo, Spooner explained, “It was quick. I wouldn’t describe it as hair on fire, going 100% for broke, but it was quick and tidy. The horse is quite catty and his brakes are great, so you are able to really hit the gas when you land and stay off the brakes for longer than you can on other horses. Then you can kind of tap the brakes just a stride or two in front of the jump, and he settles right back into position. That gives you about a two-tenths of a second advantage at a good five or six jumps out there, and those tenths add up over the length of the course.”

Tuxedo is finished showing this week after a great win and will rest up for next week’s ‘North American’ Tournament.

Competition at the ‘Canada One’ Tournament will conclude on Sunday with the $33,500 West Canadian Cup 1.50m in the morning followed by the highlight $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m in the afternoon in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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Ireland Wins $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Victory in $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m Goes to Darragh Kenny

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 13, 2014 – The $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ presented by Scotiabank was held during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO 5*, and seven teams from four countries competed for top honors. Team Ireland rode to victory with team members Shane Sweetnam/Eregast vant Kiezelhof, Richie Moloney/Slieveanorra, Darragh Kenny/Sans Souci Z, and Conor Swail/Lansdowne. Earlier in the day, Kenny had top honors with Postage Stamp Farm LLC’s Prof de la Roque over a large field of 91 competitors in the $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m.

The ‘Continental’ CSIO 5* Tournament continues through the weekend with the $85,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 14, and the $210,000 CP Grand Prix on Sunday, June 15.

The $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ presented by Scotiabank was the final regional qualifier for North and Central America in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Series. While Ireland won the competition, it was Canada and the United States who qualified from the region for the final this October in Barcelona.

Ireland took the second win in a row at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ at Spruce Meadows. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine, the four riders put in solid performances in both rounds. Splaine remarked, “It’s an achievement. To win here is a fantastic honor. My job is easy; I had four guys who did their best in the ring. It’s a credit to them that they made a very difficult job look easy. A particular thanks to Scotiabank and to Spruce Meadows for putting on a great show again, (as well as) the owners of all the great horses, and the grooms who play a significant part.”

Swail and Moloney were a part of last year’s winning team as well, and they spoke to standing on the podium for the second year in a row. “The Americans were pressing us very hard, and we just kept pulling in clear rounds. It was a fantastic achievement for all of us,” Swail said. Moloney added, “It’s great to have an opportunity to compete in a Nations Cup, especially here at Spruce Meadows since it’s such a great facility. It’s always great to represent your country.”

In the first round, Kenny and Caroline Lloyd’s Sans Souci Z were the only totally clear trip for Ireland, despite losing a shoe before the fourth fence. “I was turning to number four, and I felt him slip a little bit. I knew the time allowed was still tight, so I had to be as quick as possible,” Kenny recalled. After getting the shoe put back on, they returned in the second round to have just one time fault.

Shane Sweetnam and Eregast vant Kiezelhof
Shane Sweetnam and Eregast vant Kiezelhof

Moloney and Sweetnam both had one time fault in round one and bettered their scores with clears in the second round. “When we walked the course, we definitely thought it was a challenge,” Sweetnam said. “(Course designer) Anthony (D’Ambrosio) did a great job. It was plenty big jumps out there. We were neck and neck with the Americans.”

After the first round, Ireland sat in first place with just two faults, while the United States “Stars” team had just four faults. Swail and Lansdowne did not have to return for the second round. The final score for Ireland after two rounds was three faults.

The “Stars” team added four faults in round two to finish on eight faults for second place. They were led by Charlie Jayne and Chill R Z, owned by Alex R. Jayne, who were the only double clear combination on the day with no jumping or time faults.

Jayne and Chill R Z went in fresh to the Nations Cup having not shown at Spruce Meadows this year before today. “He felt fantastic. He walked straight into the ring,” Jayne affirmed. “He jumped a great first round and even better the second round. I couldn’t be happier with him. I felt confident going early, knowing that he’s a solid horse and he’ll perform with any conditions.”

Jayne said he was “a little surprised” that he was the only double clear of the competition, but noted that time did play a factor in the class. “Riders took more chances than they would,” he said. “I rode it more like a speed round (in) the first round.”

With the qualifier at Spruce Meadows and this year’s new event in Coapexpan, Mexico, there are now three Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ qualifiers for North and Central America. Jayne said, “It’s great to have another Nations Cup in North America. It’s very important that we have this Nations Cup, and it’s great what Furusiyya and the FEI are doing.”

Splaine concluded, “This is top sport. I go to all of the Nations Cup shows. It was significantly tougher (here) than last year. They haven’t missed a beat at Spruce Meadows.”

Darragh Kenny Continues Winning Streak

Darragh Kenny and Prof de la Roque
Darragh Kenny and Prof de la Roque

There were 91 entries in the $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m, making for a top jump-off of 11 horse and rider combinations. The early leader was Daniel Bluman (COL) on Believe, owned by Blue Star Investments. They set the time at 36.72 seconds, which held up for third place.

Four horses later, the time was dropped to 35.30 seconds by Eric Lamaze on Artisan Farms LLC’s Fine Lady 5, which looked good for the win but wasn’t quite enough when the last horse entered the ring.

Sitting in the final position in the jump-off, Kenny knew what he had to do for victory. “I knew Eric had to be very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “He’s a very careful horse, and I just said ‘Ok, jump one, as tight as I can back to two, go to three, and then just relax to the double (combination), and then just go as fast as I could.”

The plan worked when Kenny and Prof de la Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Damiro, were efficient through the first five jumps on course and positively blistering through the final three jumps. They brought the winning time down to 34.42 seconds.

The victory and good ride for Prof de la Roque was a confidence builder for the horse, who slipped in a turn last week in the International Ring. “He came back this week, and he was a little bit worried about that. He was a little fresh, so he was a little bit tense the first day, and it didn’t go exactly to plan. Today he was amazing. He’s funny. Sometimes he’s so cocky and then sometimes, (he says) ‘Oh, you have to be there for me.’”

Kenny felt that the smaller Meadows on the Green ring suited Prof de la Roque. “The jumps come up a lot faster in here, and it’s very careful jumping in this ring. In the big (International) Ring, the jumps hold them off a little bit,” he noted. “In this ring, they don’t all. It’s a little bit more difficult in that, I find anyway. That’s why it suits him. My plan was always to try and do well in one of these classes this week.”

Kenny said that he doesn’t ride Prof de la Roque “all that much” when they’re not getting ready for the competition ring. “Delphine who works for us rides him a good bit. He’s kind of a high, energetic horse. She gets on really well with him and keeps him really relaxed. I ride him every so often,” he explained.

While he is still deciding Prof de la Roque’s schedule for the rest of the week, Kenny does know that he will lean on this horse more in the final three weeks of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series when some of his other horses travel to Europe. “He’s a great horse to have like that. I’m very lucky to have so many nice horses and so many people to own those great horses,” he said.

Competition on Saturday at the ‘Continental’ includes $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m in the North American Ring and the $85,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

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Kenny Continues Dream of a Week, Azcarraga Is Best in Winning Round at Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament

Darragh Kenny and Picolo. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 6, 2014 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny continued a stellar week at the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, when he won the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m with Picolo. Jaime Azcarraga (MEX) and Matador were victorious in the $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup 1.50m Winning Round class.

The ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, is the first of five tournaments in the Summer Series and runs through Sunday, June 8. The highlight of the week is Saturday’s $400,000 RBC Grand Prix presented by ROLEX. Also on Saturday is the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse, while the 210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby is on Sunday, June 8.

Watch highlights from Friday at the ‘National’!

For his second International Ring win ever, Darragh Kenny set an early unbeatable pace with Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. The 11-horse jump-off in the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m was stacked full of big names like Spooner, Foster, Lamaze, and Ward, but Kenny and Picolo completed the jump-off course in their usual smooth fashion in 38.90 seconds. They were 1.3 seconds faster than Richard Spooner (USA) and Amparo Z, owned by Legacy Stables LLC (40.23 seconds). Third place went to Mac Cone (CAN) on Vannety B. They finished in 40.80 seconds.

“I knew there were a lot of people in the jump-off that were very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “I had to go early in the jump-off. He’s a very capable horse; he’s very fast. I thought I’d just go for it and leave the door closed. Lucky enough, that worked out for me.”

Kenny was full of praise for Picolo, who is an 11-year-old gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme. “He just wins and wins and wins and tries so hard,” he said. “When you get a horse that wants to do that much for you, it’s incredible.”

This is only the second year that Kenny has shown at Spruce Meadows; last year he came with more clients and only had one horse for the major classes. “Now I’m lucky; I have a couple of very good owners and some really nice horses, and I get to do this at the level I want to do it at,” he said.

In just three days, Kenny has had 13 top three finishes across four competition rings on eight different horses. When asked if he thought he would have a week like this, he replied, “No, I didn’t. I know I have some good horses and some very competitive horses, but you have the best riders in the world here. To try and beat them is very, very difficult. It’s extremely difficult to win here. To do that, I’m very lucky. It’s all about what you’re riding. You can do the best you can, but if you’re riding something that doesn’t want to win, you have no chance.”

Kenny praised the facility of Spruce Meadows, with the variety of classes, competition rings, and support available. “It’s incredible that we have these sponsors and the chance to jump for this prize money in this ring. The feeling when you win here is unbelievable. To win twice in one week (in the International Ring), I’m very happy with that,” he smiled.

He continued, “It’s probably the most amazing facility in the world for show jumping. I love jumping on grass. I grew up in Ireland and always jumped on grass. To have the footing that they have here is absolutely brilliant. They have so many rings, and you can do so many things here.”

Azcarraga Tips Swail in Winning Round

The $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m had just 22 entries, but the exciting format brought back the top 10 to compete for speed in the second round. Going last in the class, Azcarraga knew exactly what he needed to accomplish, and he sped to victory in 45.77 seconds. He was chasing a time of 46.00 seconds set by Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Third place went to Ambosell I and Pablo Barrios (VEN), who stopped the clock in 46.31 seconds.

Jaime Azcarraga and Matador
Jaime Azcarraga and Matador

“I was able to see [Conor] because he went right in front of me. I was lucky to be behind because he was running really fast and I had to catch him,” Azcarraga said.

Azcarraga is a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, having first come to compete in 1985, and he has won through four decades. He was the winner of this class in 2008 on Forastero and is known for riding the famous stallions Chin Chin and Presley Boy. Azcarraga found Matador, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Indoctro x Corland, as a seven-year-old and has brought him along in preparation for top competitions. This is the horse’s second international competition.

“He really likes to do the job,” Azcarraga said of Matador. “He was very good on Wednesday, so I tried to ride him good, and he did the job. It feels good to work with the horses. Every horse is different and some take more time to develop. Matador is 12 years old now, and I think he’s ready.”

As an amateur rider, Azcarraga splits his time between riding “every day” in Mexico and running his family’s business. Azcarraga recalled, “I’m very happy to be here again. It’s tough to win here at Spruce Meadows. I was telling Norman Dello Joio, that to come from Mexico with the level we have, to jump here in the five-star is really shocking, to come here and see the fences. I try to come in the summers and do some trips for international shows. I have to take care of the business in Mexico, so it’s not so easy to go out and compete. But if you come here, you always keep the level. In the summer it’s a good place to stay in front.”

It was a great return to the International Ring for Swail, who severed his Achilles tendon riding Ariana at the Royal Winter Fair this past November. He has been off for more than six months.

“One of most difficult things is the mental side of it, where you have to wait for such a long time. When I got the injury, I was unaware of how big an injury it was. It’s a big ligament to damage for a show jumping rider,” he explained. “I have to say though, I got through it fine. It’s just a matter of getting healthy and being able to do the job. It’s fabulous to be back.”

Conor Swail and Martha Louise
Conor Swail and Martha Louise

Swail is very happy to be back in the ring and in the victory gallop. He said, “I thought today I was going to get in that winner’s circle. Ariana was third the other day and she was leading for a long time, and I thought that would have been nice. The horses are nice and fresh. I’m a little rusty still, so hopefully there is more to come. I’m delighted with how [Martha Louise] went today; she jumped a fabulous round. It was very fast. I’m happy to be second. It wasn’t our day today, but hopefully it’s just around the corner.”

Tomorrow’s schedule brings the highlight of the week, the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by ROLEX. Phase I begins at 9 a.m. MST, and Phase II will kick off at 2 p.m. MST. In between, the $60,000 Transcanada Parcours de Chasse speed class will run. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

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Alpha VDL Is Worth the Wait for Darragh Kenny as They Win HITS Saugerties $50,000 Grand Prix

©ESI Photography. Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL jumped to a win in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

SAUGERTIES, NY (May 26, 2014) – Darragh Kenny first saw Alpha VDL at the VDL Sport Horse Auction in Florida two years ago, and instantly knew he wanted to ride the then 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Kenny had to be patient however, until this past January, for his wish to come true. The pair was quick to find their way to the top, winning the $50,000 Grand Prix during Week V at HITS before topping the field in Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, at HITS Saugerties.

“I knew he was going to be a winner,” Kenny said about his attraction to Alpha VDL, who is owned by Eva Castegren. “I wasn’t able to find someone to buy him for me when I saw him at the auction, but lucky that Eva gave me the opportunity this year. He tries so hard, is careful, eager and easy to ride.”

Kenny hails from Wellington, Florida and was the rider to beat from start to finish in the Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix Stadium, jumping the first clear round from the fifth spot in the original order. Seven more eventually joined him with clear rounds over a course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil. Thirteen obstacles and 16 jumping efforts formed a test that served as a conclusion to the first week of grand prix qualifying for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

“This has always been a successful horse show for me and think that we [as riders] don’t always realize how lucky we are to compete for significant prize money during the HITS circuit and then jump for $1 million,” said Kenny. “To have not only one million-dollar class in the U.S., but three, gives us amazing opportunities.”

While thrilled with his clear round, Kenny was burdened with jumping first in the jump-off with the likes of McLain Ward, Christine McCrea, Todd Minikus, Darragh Kerins and Quentin Judge behind him.

Kenny left a stride out in the first line of the shortened course and “kicked all the way through the timers”, stopping the clock in 35.22 seconds, establishing the Great American Time to Beat.

“When I walked the course, the first line walked in nine, but Alpha has a big stride and we managed the eight,” said Kenny. “It’s always scary nerve wracking when people like McLain are behind you because they rarely make mistakes, so just hoped I was fast enough.”

Ward, of Brewster, New York, and Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Dulien Van De Smeets also jumped the first two fences in eight strides, but was a tenth slow. They clocked a time of 35.36 seconds and collected second.

Kenny was fortunate to appear in the jump-off twice and collected third aboard Hyperion, LLC’s Imothep with a clear effort in 36.76 seconds. He and Ward were the only riders to boast double-clear rounds.

Minikus, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Quality Girl, owned by Quality Group, proved their reputation for speed with a time of 35.12 seconds. A heartbreak rail at the third fence left them with four faults and the white ribbon.

McCrea, who hails from East Windsor, Connecticut, claimed fifth in the irons aboard Candy Tribble’s Wannick WH, with four faults and a time of 39.83 seconds. Ward was sixth on Double H Farm’s HH Fleur, Kerins seventh with his own Zerro Leone, and Judge eighth aboard HH Whisky Royale for Double H Farm.

After deciding how to spend his Sunday winnings, the next big question for Kenny is who he will ride in the Zoetis Million this September. “I’m fortunate enough to have two horses with that kind of scope,” said Kenny of Alpha VDL and Imothep. “I’ll see how the rest of the summer goes and decide who is ready – they both have what it takes.”

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

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Alfano and Candid Are Picture Perfect for Grand Hunter Championship at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows

Jennifer Alfano and Candid. Photos copyright The Book LLC.

Darragh Kenny and Picolo Capture 1.40m Jumper Win

North Salem, NY – May 7, 2014 – The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse shows awarded their first hunter championships of the season today, and taking the Grand Hunter Championship was Candid, ridden and owned by Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY. In the Grand Prix Field, jumpers had plenty of entries as Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Picolo won over 53 others in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows run May 6-11 and May 13-18 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country to compete for almost $500,000 in prize money.

Candid’s performance in the Green Conformation Hunters garnered him the overall Grand Hunter Championship. On the first day, Candid and Alfano were first and third over fences and took the top ribbon in the under saddle and model classes. They finished with two more blue ribbons over fences. The reserve champion in the division was Winston, ridden by Brooke Baldwin-deGrazia and owned by Lannie Lipson. They won an over fences class and took four second places and a third in the rest of the division.

Alfano found Candid, who is called “Sheldon” after the TV character on “The Big Bang Theory,” a year ago through Terry Brown. The six-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quintender was the third horse that she purchased just for herself.

“I actually own him myself, which is really fun,” she affirmed. “Terry finds great horses. I had bought another horse from her for myself, and I sold him in a week! I was really sad because I really liked him! Then she said, ‘I have another one for you.’ [Candid is] a really fun horse, and he’s gotten really consistent. He’s very aware of his surroundings. He’s not spooky at the jumps, but he’s aware of everything that’s happening, so I think it gives him a really good presence in the ring.”

Although Candid is an investment, Alfano does hope to keep him through the rest of the year. “Eventually I’ll sell him, but I would love to keep him through his First Year year, just because I’m really having a good time. I’m not sure I’ll own one as nice as him again! I’m enjoying it.”

This is Alfano’s first time competing at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows. “I like it,” she said. “Everything has been nice. The jumps are beautiful, and the ring looks really pretty. So far we’re having a really good time!”

Darragh Kenny and Picolo
Darragh Kenny and Picolo

In a class of 54 entries, Darragh Kenny and Picolo, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly owned by Oakland Ventures, took the top spot in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class with a clear round in a time of 32.493 seconds. Second place went to Balboa 6, ridden by Leslie Howard for Martin Guerra. Their time was 32.709 seconds, while McLain Ward rode Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Dulien van de Smeets to third place in 32.919 seconds.

Picolo has continued his success that started near the end of this winter’s FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, where they had top three performances in FEI world ranking classes. Kenny noted, “He’s very, very competitive, and he’s really fun. He was second in a $100,000 grand prix last summer, and I’ll start to graduate him up to bigger classes again. He was a little bit sick during the winter; he had ulcers. We’ve taken our time getting him right. He was just right at the end of Florida and showed week 11. After that, he went and had a good break out in the field before we came here.”

Kenny said that Picolo’s personality and easygoing nature is what makes him stand out. “He’s my pet. Actually, he’s everybody in the barn’s pet,” he expressed. “They all love him. He’s just a fun horse to have around. Anyone can ride him; he’s so easy. He goes in a soft rubber snaffle. You don’t put any boots on him. Everybody can flat him, anyone can jump him.”

The opportunity to show on the grass Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm was one that Kenny took advantage of, along with many top show jumpers. “It’s a fantastic preparation. For me, I really love coming to this horse show. I think it’s a great preparation for Spruce Meadows. You get out on the grass, and there are good hills. And for all of my clients, it’s great. They get used to it. It’s a very different thing to ride on a hilly ring with grass than a flat, sand ring. The jumps come up faster and come up at different angles. It changes how the horses jump the jumps.”

Kenny and Picolo will be back in action for Friday’s $35,000 New York Welcome Stake. Tomorrow’s horse show highlights include Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship and another $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class.

WATCH LIVE! The $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix on May 11, the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on May 17, and the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix on May 18 will all be broadcast on the USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak. You may watch these events as they happen at www.USEFNetwork.com or www.oldsalemfarm.net. All classes in the Grand Prix Field and Sand Ring are also livestreamed daily at www.shownet.biz.

Full horse show results can be found at www.horseshowsonline.com.

Visit the Old Salem Farm and Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows Facebook pages for results, photo galleries, and more! Old Salem Farm has joined Twitter and Instagram too – follow us to see exclusive photos and videos, let us know what you like about our events, and share your experiences.

Old Salem Farm, located just one hour north of New York City, is one of the best equestrian competition venues in North America, as rated by the North American Riders Group in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Host of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the prestigious American Gold Cup CSI-W 4*, and year-round competitions, the facility offers a state-of-the-art turf grand prix field, indoor riding arena, and two all-weather footing rings. As a boarding and training facility, Old Salem Farm is second to none and home to top trainer Frank Madden. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net or call 914-669-5610.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Nick Dello Joio, Sloane Coles, and Darragh Kenny Top Adequan Young Jumper Classics

Nick Dello Joio and Boomerang. Photos © Sportfot.

Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal

Wellington, FL – March 28, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted classics for the young jumpers on Friday during its twelfth and final week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. In the $20,000 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Boomerang were the winners. Sloane Coles (USA) and WEC l’Ami Noir topped the $20,000 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Dakota VDL won the $15,000 Adequan 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic.

FTI WEF week twelve, sponsored by FTI Consulting, continues through March 30, 2014. Saturday will feature the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final and $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5* along with round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which concludes on the derby field on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Live streaming is available on Saturday, March 29, at approximately 6:30 p.m. EST for the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5*. Live streaming will begin with the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final Jump-off. Watch here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/2014-fti-finale-grand-prix-live.

Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the tracks for Friday’s young jumper classes in the International Arena at PBIEC. All of the classes were held with the option to either jump-off immediately following their round or wait until after the first round of competition. In the $20,000 Adequan Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, 61 entries showed with eight to jump-off, and five double clear rounds. Nick Skelton (GBR) led the way with Aristio for most of the class, jumping off early in 38.60 seconds, but eventually moved into third place. Adam Prudent (FRA) jumped off after his round with Henri Prudent’s Si Bella and briefly took the lead in 38.09 seconds, but was pushed into second. Nick Dello Joio (USA) chose to return for his jump-off round at the end, and took over for the win with Emilie Martinsen’s Boomerang in 37.35 seconds.

Boomerang, a KWPN gelding by Orlando x Lux, is a horse that Martinsen rode last summer and then asked Dello Joio to ride with the idea to bring him along and sell.

“I am privileged to ride him,” Dello Joio stated after his win. “He is full of character. He is a small horse, but he has more scope and more range than any horse I think I have ever ridden. He is a bit cheeky and has a lot of personality. I think all of that combined is what makes him a super horse.”

“I have been riding him at this circuit for five or six weeks, and I think it is time for him to move up,” the rider noted. “This is a good division for him, but he is better over a bigger fence, so I think it’s time to see what he’s got. We have schooled him at home and other places, and when the horse jumps bigger, he is way more focused. When he jumps smaller, it is just too easy for him. It’s like (Michael) Jordan playing street ball or something. It’s not fair, so I’m excited to take him to the next level.”

Commenting on the ride and his decision to wait to jump-off until the end, Dello Joio explained, “With horses like him, you always want to keep them a little bit under your thumb. You want to keep them with you and together. He’s not a horse that you want to get off his back and let him do what he wants. You have to kind of work together, and that is when he is at his best, and his most focused.”

“In the first round, maybe I left him a little bit too fresh,” Dello Joio mused. “He is so gamey; he is so on it, so he finished the first round, and I thought I would just bring him out and let him chill. I wanted to re-school him and get his focus again, and then go back in and have a round like that, and it paid off.”

For his round in the jump-off, Dello Joio asked the advice of his father, Norman, heading in. “I asked dad what he thought about it, if we wanted to push him or how important this class was for him,” the rider explained. “He just said, ‘Be smart and be smooth.’ The horse is so quick across the ground; his stride eats it up for a little horse. I had to almost chip and do the nine (strides) down the last line. Everyone else was galloping and I could have done eight if I really needed to, but I saw the clock and I was like, ‘All right, wait, easy.’ I just made neat turns and used his stride to my advantage. I have never really put any gas on the fire, so it worked out.”

Dello Joio plans to step Boomerang up a little bit in the months to come and knows that the horse has a great future. “There are some shows here in April, so maybe we will pull him out one week and jump one of the grand prix classes here on him quietly, without a ton of people, and just see what he does and see how he reacts to it,” he said. “Then the plan is for him to go to Old Salem and Spruce Meadows, which I think will be fantastic mileage for him. Old Salem is an amazing venue, and Calgary, there is no better in the world for experience for horses. If he keeps going like that, he is a super horse, so I think he will get sold.”

Sloane Coles and WEC l’Ami Noir Win $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic

The $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was featured at the FTI WEF on Friday afternoon with 20 out of 72 entries making it through to the jump-off and 13 double clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s short course. Early on, Sloane Coles (USA) and The Windwood Group’s WEC l’Ami Noir set a very fast pace in 30.84 seconds that would hold on to the lead through the end. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Blythe Masters’ Chapeau finished second in 30.96 seconds. Tim Gredley (GBR) and Unex Billy Dream placed third in 31.65 seconds, and Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Tua Efele finished fourth in 32.22 seconds.

Sloane Coles and WEC l'Ami Noir
Sloane Coles and WEC l’Ami Noir

WEC l’Ami Noir is a Holsteiner gelding by Cormint x Corrado I that owners at The Windwood Group purchased as a five-year-old. Coles started riding l’Ami two months ago and has been showing the gelding in the seven-year-old classes throughout the last half of the FTI WEF circuit, including a win during week ten leading up to the final.

“When the owners bought him, they kind of knew that he was going to be a grand prix horse, and I think he has proven that already as a seven-year-old,” Coles noted. “He is just very scopey and very careful. He is light on his feet and quick off the ground. He wants to be a winner; he really wants to be fast. The rideability is there, it is getting better, but he is just a super horse and I am looking forward to having him in the future.”

Speaking of l’Ami’s personality, Coles described, “When we first got him, he was a little bit funny. He didn’t want to be loved on and he was a little weird, but now we are spoiling him and he is really developing a personality. He is very put together, almost proud of himself. He is big and beautiful and he knows he is a good horse, which is good.”

“I didn’t start showing him here until maybe week six, but he has done the seven-year-old classes the whole circuit,” she detailed. “Today was bigger than it has been down here, and I feel like he just stepped up. I feel like he definitely could have jumped bigger today if he had to. His stride is huge. I left out strides in a couple of places in the jump-off, and I think that is how I won it.”

Coles heads back to her base in Middleburg, VA, after this week and shows in Virginia and Kentucky throughout the summer with the goal of the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships at the Hampton Classic in August.

Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL Top $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic

The $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was the first class in the International Arena at PBIEC on Friday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Dakota VDL. The six-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Casall x Contender) was purchased from VDL Stud two years ago for the highest bid of $210,000 at the 2012 WEF Sport Horse Auction in Wellington. Kenny started riding the horse this year in the middle of January and showed throughout the winter at the 1.30m level.

In Friday’s six-year-old classic, the pair topped a class of 63 entries where 26 advanced to the jump-off. They had the fastest time of 34.60 seconds out of 11 double clear rounds. Sloane Coles and The Windwood Group’s WEC Damokles finished second in 35.25 seconds. Alex Granato (USA) guided Page Tredennick’s Calchen W to third place honors in 35.28 seconds, and Darrin Dlin (CAN) and Susan Grange’s Tienna placed fourth in 35.70 seconds.

Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL
Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL

“He is really a special horse,” Kenny praised. “He was already jumping the 1.30m easy. He basically did not do any of the six-year-old classes all winter because we wanted to jump him a little bit bigger. He has huge scope, and he is very careful. He is very, very competitive and today he was super.”

“He is super easy,” the rider added. “There is nothing difficult about him. He doesn’t spook, he has loads of jump, he is very careful and easy to ride. It is an easy thing to go in and try to win a class like this on him. He makes my life very easy, so that’s nice. The idea is to just keep building him up and see where he goes. I think he has all the ability to be a top horse.”

Kenny commented on the course, stating, “I thought it was very good. It was a little technical and a little spooky, which was good. The good horses ended up at the top and that was the right way to do it.”

Kenny and Dakota VDL had an impressive round through D’Ambrosio’s short course to conclude their FTI WEF circuit with a win, and Kenny looks forward to furthering the horse’s potential when they show together again in Canada this summer.

“I think actually on Monday he is going to leave to go back to Hyperion Stud in Virginia to start breeding,” Kenny noted. “He will do a lot of breeding for April and some of May and then he will come to Spruce Meadows for me to jump. He will keep breeding for the future and then we will keep showing him and see where it goes.”

Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal

Sara Ballinger of Marion, OH, and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wanderprinz finished first in the Ariat National Adult Medal on Friday morning of week twelve at the FTI WEF. Ballinger and Wanderprinz were the final pair to enter the ring, earning a high score of 86 to return for the test.

The top four riders were called back for further testing. Meredith Combs was first to test, scoring an 82 with Cassius in the first round before ultimately finishing second. Third place went to Emma Butchard and Conquest. The pair earned an 83 in the first round. Barri Platt completed the top four aboard Avanti Maria, scoring an 85 in the first round and finishing fourth overall.

Ballinger has owned Wanderprinz since she imported him as a four-year-old. Seven years later, the pair has developed a close bond. Ballinger prides herself on the fact that she does all of the care for Wanderprinz and her other horse, Pizzaro, who she competes in the jumper divisions.

Wanderprinz also started out as a jumper, but a lack of speed led Ballinger to experiment with the adult equitation divisions. The dark bay gelding took it well, and the two have forged a fruitful equitation career together. Ballinger won the Ariat National Adult Medal during week eight of the FTI WEF, in addition to division champion in the Adult Equitation division.

Wanderprinz may have left the jumper ring behind, but the skills he learned in the jumper divisions groomed him for success as an equitation mount.

“The jumpers really helped with all the turns. He knows when he lands to pay attention to me for where to go, since it’s not always straight [down the line],” Ballinger explained.

Ballinger was thrilled with her first round course, commenting, “The first round was great. I loved the course. It was an actual equitation course. I thought it was super.”

Of her plan for her course, Ballinger said, “[I wanted] to stay smooth and kind of round all the turns. Just keep a nice pace the whole way, keep the same pace. I think keeping the same pace, like the plan was, really helped [in getting called back to test]. Also executing the corners correctly. We’ve been practicing that, especially this week.”

As the last rider to go, Ballinger, who trains with Lourdes De Guardiola, wasn’t able to get in any extra practice before returning to the ring right away to test. The judge asked riders to canter fences one and two, where they had the option to tighten the sweeping left turn. Riders then continued turning left to trot fence three, a brick wall, before having a tight right turn to hand gallop fence four. Riders where then asked to halt and return to line at the sitting trot.

Ballinger felt confident after hearing the test, remaining focused on maintaining a good rhythm even if it meant sacrificing handier turns.

“Sometimes I have a little trouble leaving the line with the same pace. That’s why I stayed out a little bit to the first jump. I didn’t cut the turn. I’d rather stay out a little and sacrifice that, but get the pace,” she shared.

Ballinger’s ultimate goal for the week is the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final on Sunday. Hunter and equitation competition continues on Saturday at the FTI WEF with the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Darragh Kenny and Quiz Win $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m Speed at FTI WEF 9

Darragh Kenny and Quiz. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 5, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) kicked off its ninth week of competition on Wednesday, March 5, with a $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m speed class and a top finish for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny aboard Quiz.

FTI WEF week nine, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, continues through Sunday, March 9. Thursday’s competition will begin with the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m in the International Arena at 8 a.m. followed by the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at 11 a.m. The High Amateur-Owner Jumpers have been moved to the Mogavero Ring.

The week will continue on Friday with the $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m in the afternoon as well as the $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Semi-Final Friday night. The $280,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 4*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, will be featured on Saturday night and the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be held on Sunday. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Ireland’s Alan Wade is the course designer in the International Arena for week nine. Wade set the track for 58 competitors in Wednesday’s 1.45m speed class with 14 clear rounds. Darragh Kenny finished first with Quiz and third aboard Picolo, with Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala in second.

Kenny jumped the first clear round of the class aboard his first mount, Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo, and set the pace at 61.91 seconds. He then beat his own time with Spruce Meadows’ Quiz several rounds later, taking the lead in 61.65 seconds. Kenny sat first and second until the end, when Lauren Hough jumped into second with Ohlala in 61.76 seconds. Quiz took the win and Picolo settled for third.

“I had a good plan with the first horse,” Kenny noted after the class. “I was really planning on being quick, and he is careful, so I wanted to have a good go. Out of the double, I did eight strides to the liverpool, and I just got caught. He shifted right, and I got caught doing one more stride.”

“I knew somebody was going to beat me, so I said, ‘I better go and try to do it myself!'” Kenny laughed. “With Quiz, I just start and get a good pace, and then if he feels good, I just keep going faster. I am very lucky. I have some really great horses right now and some really great owners. My business is really coming together and the horses are really coming together, and I am a very lucky guy.”

Kenny and Quiz also won the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during week four competition. “He has been great,” Kenny acknowledged. “I am just taking my time with him and not pushing him too much. I am just keeping him in the 1.45m and 1.50m classes. He is a very good horse. He is really careful, and he really wants to do well. I am lucky to be able to ride him.”

“Picolo is a horse I had last summer,” Kenny detailed. “He was placed in a couple of grand prix classes. He’s a super fun horse, and he is really competitive. He had some stomach problems over the winter; he got ulcers, and so he has not been showing a lot. I just started him back about four weeks ago, did two weeks, gave him a week off and then did this. He is really easy. He wants to win and wants to be careful, so he is really perfect for these classes.”

Coming from Ireland, Kenny grew up jumping Alan Wade’s courses and always enjoys Wade’s style. “For me, Alan is one of the best course designers in the world,” Kenny declared. “I think he is absolutely fantastic. He does a great job. He never makes anything too difficult that anybody crashes or anything like that, but the issues that you are having, he weeds them out straight away. If you have a problem with a horse’s rideability, guaranteed you are going to have a problem with it. The same if a horse isn’t careful enough, he will catch them out. He’s not very big about the time allowed being very tight. He just builds really good, technical courses up to the height, and he lets the horses and the riders figure it out from there.”

Also showing on Wednesday, week nine’s competition began in the morning with a win for Laura Chapot and Bradberry in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class. Chapot then went on to her second win of the day in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class riding Mary Chapot’s Umberto. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

First Time Is a Charm for Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL’s on their way to a win in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

OCALA, FL (February 18, 2014) – With no faults and the fastest time, Darragh Kenny of Wellington, Florida and Alpha VDL bested a large field of 51 top tier horses and riders to win the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis at HITS Ocala. The nine-year-old gelding, Alpha VDL, was purchased by Eva Castegren at the VDL Auction in West Palm Beach last March and has been shown lightly until making his grand prix debut with Kenny this weekend.

Most grand prix competitors felt the track designed by course designer Martin Otto of Muenster, Germany to be challenging. The time allowed was set at 71 seconds, but later raised to 73, the course included a total of twelve obstacles and fifteen jumping efforts with a tricky triple combination at fence ten. The course was consistent with knock-downs and time faults as Otto’s track tested the competitors. First to post a clear round was Lazaro and Jordan Coyne of New Port Richey, Florida and only four others would follow them to the jump-off.

Returning first, Lazaro, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood and Coyne finished with four faults at fence seven and a time of 37.7 seconds, which was good for fourth. Quality Girl, a 12-year-old Warmblood mare, with professional rider Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida in the irons finished second in the Zoetis Million at Saugerties last year and pulled a rail at 10b for four faults and finished with a time of 38.28 seconds for fifth place.

Third to jump and making it look easy was the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Viriato ridden by professional Scott Keach of Reddick, Florida, with two double-clear rounds during the class for owner Southern Cross Equestrian. Keach established the Great American Time To Beat at 44.90 seconds with Viriato. This would ultimately give them a third place finish. Next to jump off was Fernando Cardenas of New Hill, North Carolina aboard his 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Quincy Car. With no faults and a speedy time of 43.75 seconds, they finished seconds.

Kenny was definitely the underdog on a horse with no grand prix experience, but he and Alpha VDL prevailed in the thrilling five-horse jump-off, going clear with a time of 42.24 seconds for the win.

“He’s a big, easy-going horse I’ve shown him a few times now and nothing fazes him,” said Kenny. “He has a big stride and for a big horse he is amazingly light on his feet.”

There will be more grand prix action next Sunday as HITS VI – the Ocala Masters kicks off with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and later the $50,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, both presented by Zoetis. The excitement is building for the first-ever Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. The Great American Million will debut as the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24 in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives.

©ESI Photography. Haley Gassel and Werner 61 jump to the blue in the $7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Amateur-Owner High Jumper Classic
©ESI Photography. Haley Gassel and Werner 61 jump to the blue in the $7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Amateur-Owner High Jumper Classic

$7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Amateur-Owner High Jumper Classic, presented by Bayer’s Legend

With two entries in the class and hopes of qualifying for the Bayer’s Legend (hyaluronate sodium) Injectable Solution $250,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix in, Haley Gassel of Lenoir City, Tennessee and Werner 61 rode to win in the $7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Amateur-Owner High Jumper Classic, presented by Bayer’s Legend. With a ‘better get it done or you’re going to get left’ attitude, Gassel and Werner 61, a big grey Warmblood, attached the track set by Otto in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.

Perched ring-side, accomplished professional David Jennings commented on the course: “This stadium has wonderful footing and the course is big enough without being ‘trappey.’ I have jumped lots of courses set by Martin and I know first-hand he is one of the best.”

With an order of go including 23 starters, six moved on to the jump-off. First, Acrobat with Robert Lee of Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the irons for Brook Run Farm, LLC rode to no faults and set The Great America Time to Beat at 34.55 seconds. They ended the class in second.

Gassel returned next and carved out a time of 33.21 seconds for the win. Third place was awarded to Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois with four faults and a time of 31.83 seconds. Fourth place on his second entry El Grecco was Lee who returned to best his own time to beat, but clipped a rail to settle with four faults in a time of 33.64 seconds. Michelle Stopford of Reddick, Florida and Zilano M, riding for Hardford Farm M&M, capped the top five with four faults and a time of 34.89 seconds.

$7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Junior High Jumper Classic, presented by Bayer’s Legend

The Junior section of the High Jumper Classic was able to also jump for their share of prize money over the weekend. It was Dakota Schramer of Holmes Beach, Florida riding No Autographs Please that was the pair to beat and the only one to post a double-clear round.

First to return in the jump-off was Kady Abrahmson of Loveland, Ohio on Basco, trained by Scott Keach of Reddick, Florida. Unfortunately, they pulled a rail at the second element of fence four to pick up four faults, with a time of 31.99 seconds. Their time was eventually the fastest in the jump-off, an effort good enough for second place.

©ESI Photography. Dakota Schramer and No Autographs Please win the $7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Junior High Jumper Classic
©ESI Photography. Dakota Schramer and No Autographs Please win the $7,500 U-Dump/SJHOF Junior High Jumper Classic

Next in the ring was Schramer and No Autographs Please. With trainer Kris Di Carlo looking on, Schramer was flawless with a clear-round in a time of 32.83 seconds for the win. Third place went to Hayley Waters on No Double with four faults and a time of 38.56 seconds for owner/trainer Chuck & Dana Waters.

With the win came an ample amount of cheering from Schramer’s ring-side fan club and a few tears of joy from her very happy mother. “We have had our problems – he doesn’t like to get deep to the jumps, but he’s getting better and better, and today he was perfect,” said Schramer. “I am gaining a lot of confidence as we go.  I really liked the openness of the stadium and am excited to try to qualify for the Bayer’s Legend Jumper Prix in Saugerties.”

About U-Dump
Since 1980, U-Dump has been manufacturing the finest dump trailers in the industry.  Built strictly from top-grade materials, all of their trailers are made with the latest construction techniques to eliminate bending and breakage in all stress areas.  U-Dump Trailers has built their reputation on manufacturing state-of-the art trailers of the highest quality and endurance. For more information on U-Dump, visit udumptrailers.com.

About Bayer Animal Health
Bayer Animal Health is amongst worldwide leaders in animal health. Bayer has attained this leadership position by continuously researching and developing products for animal health since 1919. A responsible relationship between humans, companion animals and livestock requires ensuring the health of animals. For more information on Bayer Animal Health, visit bayer.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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Lauren Hough and Ohlala Speed to Victory in $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4

Lauren Hough and Ohlala. Photos © Sportfot.

Darragh Kenny and Quiz Triumph in $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Team of Dobbs, Mershad, Barnhill and McArdle Wins $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event; Spencer Smith and Beau Van Het Keysershof Take Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search

Wellington, FL – January 31, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued with a full schedule of competition on Friday, January 31, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 began the day’s competition with a win for Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala. The $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held in the afternoon with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Quiz.

The day also featured the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, which was held at The Stadium at PBIEC in the evening with a top finish for the team of Kalvin Dobbs, Gabriela Mershad, Hayley Barnhill, and Abigail McArdle.

FTI WEF four, sponsored by Ariat, runs January 29 to February 2. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments featuring a concert by four-time Grammy Nominee Hunter Hayes on Saturday night, and the $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2* on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday afternoon. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for week four competition. For the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4, which was held as a speed class, Palacios saw 63 entries with 22 clear rounds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak and Spy Coast Farms, held the lead through most of the class with their time of 62.58 seconds, but eventually settled for second when Lauren Hough and Ohlala raced through the timers in 61.46 seconds.

Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito finished third in 62.98 seconds. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane placed fourth in 63.36 seconds, and Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Aristo Z took fifth place honors with their time of 63.82 seconds.

Ohlala, owned by The Ohlala Group, is a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento. The mare has had success around the world with Hough in the irons and continued her winning ways with a speedy top finish in Friday’s class.

“It was a nice course,” Hough stated. “Obviously not many of the horses got worked yesterday with the torrential downpour, and I sort of geared her towards this class this week knowing it was a one round. She is obviously a very quick horse. It wasn’t terribly big, but it was quite careful. There were rails throughout the course, and I think he did a good job considering that for most of these horses it was probably their first class this week. I wouldn’t say it was super technical today, but you needed a really careful horse.”

Hough saw Sweetnam’s round and knew she had a fast time to beat, but looking back, she was not sure where she made up the time.

“I put more steps in than he did, but she is just so quick across the ground,” Hough said. “I always have to stick with my plan and hope that I end up faster than the one in front of me. I don’t know where I made it up. She just was sort of on it everywhere. I was quite quick back to the last double. I didn’t waste a lot of time there, but I did eight strides to the last where most did seven.”

“She is a winner,” Hough noted. “I had a little bit of bad luck last week and not great riding in the grand prix and had two down, which is very uncharacteristic of her. I was a little disappointed in myself, and I thought I would give it a go this week. She is great. First class out, you can go fast and she knows her job.”

In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Hough earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing her SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

She was also awarded a special trophy for her win, earning the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by Debbie Lane.

Darragh Kenny and Quiz
Darragh Kenny and Quiz

Darragh Kenny and Quiz Triumph in $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

The $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held on Friday with a win for Darragh Kenny and Spruce Meadow’s Quiz. The class saw 23 entries with 5 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off and three double clears. Kenny and Quiz earned top honors in 41.05 seconds.

McLain Ward (USA) and Kantunaro, owned by Ellen Holtgers and David Paige, finished second, clearing the course in 41.17 seconds. Alexa Pessoa (USA) and Rodrigo Pessoa’s Levade 35 were the first pair to jump clear and stopped the clock in 42.41 seconds to finish third.

Alex Granato (USA) and Wood Run Farms’ Mullaghdrin Rado had the fastest time of 39.80 seconds, but had one rail down to place fourth. Sydney Shulman (USA) and Marcus Hagglund’s Quirado had four faults in the jump-off in 42.37 seconds to place fifth.

Quiz is a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by For Pleasure x Laudanum, owned by Spruce Meadows and the Southern Family. Kenny got the horse last year and has brought him along nicely.

“He’s ten, but he hadn’t done so much. He had only been doing 1.30m,” Kenny noted. “He won a good grand prix with me last year in Saugerties the week of the $1 million class. He has kind of just grown. He is unbelievably careful, he has loads of scope. I really think he is a top horse. I think he is a super, super horse. I am so lucky that Spruce Meadows owns him and that I get to ride him.”

Describing his strategy in the jump-off, Kenny explained, “I just thought, ‘Start going a little bit and then just keep building as the course went on.’ He is still green, so you can’t just go crazy from the start, but he has a big stride and he really wants to be careful, so you have to just keep going at the jumps. Then as it went I just got gradually faster.”

Kenny plans to keep Quiz competing at the 1.50m level this winter and is very happy with the horse’s progress. “He seems to be doing great. He was second last week and he won this week,” Kenny smiled. “He is going to have a week off next week. I really think a lot of the horse, so I am going to take my time with him.”

In addition to Quiz, Kenny has a lot of great young horses this year and is having a nice start to the FTI WEF circuit. “It has been going great,” he said. “I am very busy. I have a lot of good clients and a lot of good owners and some really nice horses. I haven’t yet jumped a Saturday night grand prix, but I’m taking my time. There is no rush. One horse will show next week in the big classes. These horses are all a little bit younger, and I am trying to produce them for the future.”

Team of Dobbs, Mershad, Barnhill and McArdle Wins $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in Association with Guido Klatte

Friday’s competition concluded with the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, held in the International Arena at The Stadium at PBIEC (home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival) in the evening. The class was held in a Nations Cup format over two rounds of competition. With nine teams competing, labeled Team A through Team I, Team F was the winner.

Team F, made up of Kalvin Dobbs and Treesdale Farms’ Winde, Gabriela Mershad and Mershad Stables LLC’s Udonna, Hayley Barnhill and Cara Cheska’s Zephire, and Abigail McArdle aboard David McArdle’s Cosma 20, finished on a total of four faults after the two rounds of competition. The team Chef d’Equipe was Abigail Blankenship.

After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, all nine teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults with three riders each. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team’s top three riders from each round.

Dobbs and Winde jumped clear in round one and finished with four faults in round two. Mershad had four jumping faults and one time fault in round one to be the drop score in round one and did not return for round two. Barnhill and McArdle both jumped double clear rounds to help their team to victory.

Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20
Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20

McArdle (19), of Wellington, FL, was the anchor rider for her team and had the pressure of putting in a second clear round to clinch the victory for her team as the last to go. McArdle definitely felt the weight on her shoulders, but was confident in her experience.

“Obviously I had to be clean, but we have done this before,” McArdle stated. “We have been team members before where I have been anchor and I have been in this position. It was a great feeling to go in and be able to lay it down and be clean to win.”

McArdle has had great success with her mount Cosma 20, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Couleur Rubin x Stakkato), and really wanted to go clean for her team.

“Even though I know her back and forth and obviously she is an incredible, once in a lifetime sort of horse, I still get nervous and want to do well,” McArdle admitted. “It’s the same pressure every round, whether it’s this or a speed class, or anything. I feel the same pressure and I want to jump clean and do well. I never assume that I know her, and she’s going to jump clean. We go in and ride to jump clean.”

Barnhill (20), from Collierville, TN, had a different experience with her mount, Zephire, an 11-year-old KWPN mare. Although they have not known each other quite as long, the pair also put in two great clear rounds.

“This is a new horse for me,” Barnhill noted. “I got her at the end of the year last year. She has never shown under the lights or done anything like this before, so we didn’t really know how she was going to be and she was fantastic. She could not have jumped any better, so I was really excited.”

Dobbs (18), from Carmel, IN, has a more experienced horse in Winde, his 11-year-old KWPN mare by Numero Uno x No Limit. The pair has done plenty of night classes, and this is their third year competing in the Artisan Farms young rider series.

“She usually picks up under the lights and it is definitely a lot different because it is more uncommon for us to show under the lights, but she is fun and it’s no big deal for her,” Dobbs said. “I was a bit nervous just because everything was cancelled yesterday, and I haven’t been here for a week and a half. Winde just jumped for the first time this morning since the last young rider grand prix, but we knew how to properly prepare her. It was nice that the course was fair. I thought it was a good course and set us up for a successful class. It ended up being a really fun, good young riders grand prix.”

Mershad (18), from New Albany, OH, showed in the first round with Udonna, her 13-year-old KPWN mare by Madison x Cavalier. Although she did not get to return for the second round, Mershad enjoyed the team experience and appreciated the camaraderie with her teammates.

“I think it is awesome. It teaches you how Nations Cup works, which is a big part of it when you go to senior riding,” Mershad detailed. “It really teaches young riders how it is going to be – how to work with a team and the pressure to be on a team and the support that you need to give each other.”

Showing in the beautiful arena at The Stadium at PBIEC also gave the riders a chance to compete in a different environment from the rings at the main show grounds. Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms noted that the main goal of the series is to give riders different experiences, and the night’s class did exactly that.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is give them exposure to different things,” Ziegler stated. “This particular ring feels like Europe to me. It feels like Vienna, it feels like Cannes, it feels like a stop on the Global Champions Tour. This is magnificent. If they’re looking for that exposure, this is it.”

The riders agreed, also saying that they felt like they were riding in a European arena.

“I loved showing here,” McArdle stated. “I thought this was really cool with the stadium on one side and the tent on the other side. It gave a very arena, international sort of feel. There were so many people here tonight, so I thought it was a great experience. It was really fun. You feel better going in the ring when you have more people supporting you.”

Barnhill added, “I have never shown over here before, so this was a new experience for me and I thought it was great. It was a good experience for all of us, and the horses to get to do something different.”

Behind the winning team, Team H finished second on a six fault total under the guidance of Chef d’Equipe John Roche. The team was made of up of Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s O’Splendido, Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Patriot, Chloe Reid and Chloe D. Reid LLC’s Athena, and Wilton Porter aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Radio City. Chloe Reid and Athena were the only other pair to jump double clear in the competition with Barnhill and McArdle. Team H also earned the Best Team Spirit Award.

Team A, coached by Chef d’Equipe Michelle Grubb, placed third with 15 faults in total. The team was made up of Hayley Waters and Dana Waters’ No Doubt, Ali Wolff and John C. Wolff’s Caya, Adrienne Sternlicht and Hathaway, and Alexander Zetterman aboard Springfield Showjumpers’ Zidane.

Spencer Smith and Beau Van Het Keysershof Take Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search at FTI WEF

Spencer Smith and Ashland Farm’s Beau Van Het Keysershof, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood, topped the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search on Friday morning at the FTI WEF. This was the second week in a row the pair collected the top prize for the class.

Second place went to Victoria Colvin with Stallone VDL and the top three was rounded out by Lilly Ulrich and Vocus. The top ten riders over fences were called back to test on the flat, when riders were asked to demonstrate lengthening of stride and the counter canter in both directions, including a simple change in front of the judge’s box.

Smith, a 17-year-old Wellington, FL resident, admitted he was a little thrown by the judge’s request for a simple change.

“I was like ‘Oh, no!'” Smith laughed. “But it worked out nicely. My horse did it really well.”

Beau Van Het Keysershof is a new ride for Smith. The pair have only been together for the last two months, but Smith described the pair as a perfect match.

“We’re a good fit. He’s really my ride, which is nice. He takes you to the jumps, but he’s also really soft and he can melt really quickly,” Smith described.

He continued, “He really wants to do well. He doesn’t want to make mistakes. He can do this course really smoothly.”

While there was lingering evidence of the downpour that drenched Wellington on Thursday, Smith didn’t think it had any effect on his ride.

“It was a nice course. Nothing too tricky and it all worked out nicely for my horse. The footing held pretty nicely in my opinion,” Smith detailed.

The heavy rainfall put a hold on competition for the FTI WEF, with competition being cancelled Thursday. Smith still decided to spend his rain day getting wet, heading to the beach to surf and taking a day off from riding.

Hunter divisions that were to finish on Thursday were pinned based on results from Wednesday’s classes. The Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Level 1 division was split due to a high number of entries, with two division champions ultimately crowned.

Champion of Section A was Cy Young, ridden by Tim Goguen and owned by Belhaven Stables, LLC. Cy Young, a six-year-old Warmblood gelding, swept the section, winning the under saddle class and both over fences rounds. In Section B, CC Cool and Lainie Wimberly were crowned champion. Wimberly and CC Cool, a four-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Piccolino Farm, LLC, placed eighth under saddle and first and second over fences.

Hunter and equitation competition continue Saturday morning with the Ariat National Adult Medal in Ring 6 of the PBIEC. The “Saturday Night Lights” event will highlight the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments, featuring a concert by multi-platinum recording artist and four-time Grammy nominee, Hunter Hayes. The FTI GCC has raised $1.75 million for the 35 charities chosen to participate in this year’s event. For full horse show results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Darragh Kenny Wins $30,000 Zoetis Wild Card Grand Prix to Break the Tape on HITS Championship Weekend

©ESI Photography. Darragh Kenny and Quiz jump to the top of the $30,000 Zoetis Wild Card Grand Prix.

SAUGERTIES, NY (September 6, 2013) – While Friday’s $30,000 Zoetis Wild Card Grand Prix didn’t deliver a true wild card entry for the Zoetis Million, it did give Darragh Kenny of Wellington, Florida some momentum heading into Sunday’s coveted event. Kenny piloted Quiz, owned by Spruce Meadows, to the top spot over a field of 37 as excitement continues to build leading up to HITS Championship Weekend in Saugerties, New York.

After only a month together, Kenny and Quiz recently moved up to the grand prix level after success in 1.30m competition. “He has gained a lot of experience in Saugerties and was good in the grand prix at the Hampton Classic last week, but was super today,” said Darragh. “Today’s course was perfect – tough enough, but not too tough leading up to Sunday.”

Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Meunchen, Germany set Friday’s course and will also build for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix this weekend. His Wild Card course included 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts, boasting two double combinations – one at the fifth fence of the track and another in the last line.

Under the gorgeous blue skies of the Hudson Valley, ten conquered the first round to move on to the jump-off. It was crowd favorite McLain Ward of Brewster, New York who set the Great American Time to Beat at 40.59 seconds with the first clear round in the second trip of the jump-off. Kenny was soon to answer, however, piloting Quiz to a clear round just shades faster in 40.04 seconds.

Out of the ten who advanced, Ward and Kenny were the only two who posted double clear efforts. Behind them, John Pearce of Bermuda Dunes, California rode Forest View Farm’s Johnny B Good to third. Pearce has been in the grand prix money three times since arriving on the East Coast for the Zoetis Million. He won the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Son of a Gun last Friday and tuned Chianto up for his fourth-ever $1 Million Grand Prix appearance with a win on Sunday in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. Quite possibly the West Coast favorite, Pearce is hopeful but practical about Sunday’s Zoetis Million. “You can predict odds in this sport, but can never predict a winner,” he said.

Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida rode to fourth place in the irons of Indigo, owned by Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds. The pair had a rail down at the second to last fence in the jump-off and posted a time of 42.00 seconds. Capping the top five, Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey rode Quointreau Un Prince, owned by herself and Ward, to a four-fault round in 46.08 seconds.

With Sunday’s Zoetis Million quickly approaching, Kenny is putting his leg over a new mount and will ride Wistful, recently purchased from West Coast rider Ashlee Bond. “We have only jumped one class together, but Wistful jumped the Million in California and has the perfect amount of experience at that level,” he said. “It’s unbelievable how lucky we are to be able to ride on this footing for this kind of prize money against this level of competition in this country. It’s really something special.”

As all attention now turns to Sunday, custom jumps will soon arrive at HITS-on-the-Hudson to make their debut in the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix and, according to Ward, will be the biggest factor on Sunday. He admits that no one knows exactly what is coming from Petersen. Ward will pilot 2012 Pfizer Million winner Antares F on Sunday.

As the sun sets on regular competition at HITS-on-the-Hudson this weekend, riders, trainers, owners and spectators alike are gearing up for some of the most exciting show jumping in the country and the world this weekend. The Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix takes the stage Sunday at 2pm EST and is available via live webcasts at HRTV.com and iEquine.com.

About Zoetis
Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, with a focus on both farm and companion animals. The company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion in 2012. It has more than 9,300 employees worldwide and a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit www.zoetis.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com